Gov. Deal signs legislation in Tifton to benefit rural areas

Gov. Deal signs legislation in Tifton to benefit rural areas
David Bridges, ABAC President (Source: WALB)
David Bridges, ABAC President (Source: WALB)
Amy Carter, Deputy Commissioner of Rural Development (Source: WALB)
Amy Carter, Deputy Commissioner of Rural Development (Source: WALB)

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Governor Deal traveled around the state of Georgia Wednesday to sign the $26 billion 2019 fiscal year budget and several other bills.

Deal stopped in several Georgia cities to discuss House Bills that are relevant to each area.

He was at the Henry Tift Myers Airport to sign House Bill 769 for rural health care legislation and to establish micro-hospitals to areas that need more pharmacists and physicians.

He also signed House Bill 951, which helps promote rural economic development and innovation for agricultural business.

"There are components in the state budget that will be beneficial to rural Georgia but the other two bills specifically are aimed at helping rural Georgia. ABAC is going to be an important ingredient to making that legislature meaningful," said Deal.

HB 951 will create a center for rural prosperity and innovation, which will be located at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

The center will serve as a central information and research hub for economic development in South Georgia.

In other words, seeing in business what works and what areas need improvement.

ABAC President David Bridges said this center can impact all of the surrounding area, not just Tifton.

"To revitalize and restore our rural communities. So it's a big day for all of us and it's something that we think can have a real impact," said Bridges.

The center will be project based and they are ready to hit the ground running.

"Aggressive outcome-oriented project managers. We don't want to just talk about doing good things, research doing good things, we want to really identify development opportunities in rural Georgia," said Bridges.

To better understand the areas of improvement South Georgia has, Amy Carter from the state's office will be moving into a position that will have an office in Tifton and will work closely with the new center.

The challenges of South Georgia are unique to South Georgia and I think it's beneficial that we have an office here in South Georgia in order to address those needs," said Carter.

"She can put hands on activity in place and I think its an opportunity for something we've said before and didn't have," said Deal.

ABAC has already begun development on the center and how it will operate.

Bridges said they will get started on the project in the next month.

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